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 Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present)

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MoulinP

MoulinP

Posts : 241
Join date : 2015-11-29
Age : 59
Location : Norfolk, England

Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present) Empty
PostSubject: Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present)   Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present) EmptyWed Jan 31, 2018 8:41 am

Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present)

Heyes eased himself onto the edge of the bed, trying not to disturb Mary. He was planning to clop (the term he’d adopted to describe his current gait) his way to the chair.


“Where are you going?”


Shoulders slumped, Heyes sat on the edge of the bed.


“I was trying not to wake you,” he sighed.


“I know that but that’s not what I asked.”


“I can’t sleep, Mary. I’m going to sit on the chair for a while.”


Behind him, he felt Mary sit up. She rubbed his shoulder. They hadn’t heard anything from Longwater and Heyes was fretting. Usually he would be pacing up and down but he was unable to do that at this time. Which made him fret even more. Before going to bed, he had sent John Beecher into town to see if Lom had heard anything but no, nothing.


“Jed’ll be alright Josh. He has Wheat and Paul to look after him.”


“Yes I know.”


“And I’ve heard Sheriff Gunnison is a good man. He’ll be there. Not to mention Marshall Gruber.”


Heyes sighed.


“Mary go back to sleep. I’m sorry I disturbed you. I’ll struggle over there.”


“No,” Mary said, firmly. “Light the lamp and then get back into bed. We’ll talk for a while.” In
emphasis, she arranged the pillows against the headboard. “Come on.”


With a sigh, Heyes lit the lamp but remained sitting on the edge of the bed. He only looked round when Mary touched his arm. She gripped his shoulders and pressed a kiss on his cheek.


“There’s nothing you can do.”


“I know,” he agreed sadly. “I hate not knowing. I feel so helpless.” He shook his head. “Dang plaster everywhere! It’s getting me down. I should BE there with him. Helping.”


“You have helped him as much as you can. You figured it all out. You planned what to do about it.”


“I didn’t plan a gunman showing up,” he said, bitterly.


“No but Jed knew there was a possibility he might. And we don’t know that he has. If Anne hadn’t got here in time and warned him, then he’d be walking in blind. Surely, this way Jed can plan around him. If he does turn up.”


“Ye-ah suppose so.”


“Come back into bed. You’re getting cold.”


With a heavy sigh, Heyes heaved his plastered limbs back into bed. He winced.


“Hurt?”


“Ache. Been a long day.”


Not to mention eventful. The news Anne and Rose brought was one thing. Getting Heyes back upstairs was another. Before they had left for Longwater, the Kid and Paul had joined hands to make a seat and had carried Heyes back up, despite his protests that he could manage. It was a terrifying journey. He had to sit facing behind them so that his foot didn’t jolt against the stairs. All he could see was the floor of the hall getting further and further away as the three of them wobbled their way to the landing. They were all glad when they reached the top and could put Heyes down. Limping back to his bedroom he questioned the wisdom of going downstairs in the first place. He’d think of a better way of tackling the stairs. Mary had suggested shuffling up and down on his bottom like the children did sometimes. He had given her the look at that point. Now he conceded it might have merit and he’d consider it. Providing no one was around to see him, of course.


Mary snuggled up and he raised his left arm so she could move underneath. He kissed the top of her head.


“I know I’ve said this before but thank you for being my wife and taking care of me the last few weeks.”


Mary smiled and patted his chest. Her fingers found the gap in the unbuttoned neck of his nightshirt and smoothing the hair she found there.


“I made vows remember? In sickness and in health?”


“I thought that meant a cold!” he chuckled.


They both gave contended sighs.


“Can I ask you something? About your former life?”


Heyes hesitated. “What do you want to know?” he asked, guarded.


“How did you meet Anne?”


Heyes closed his eyes and licked his lips. Yep, he knew it would come up. He took a deep breath. “Soapy was running a con and I helped him out. Anne was involved.”


“So you worked together?”


Another deep breath and he rested his cheek on the top of her head. “Not exactly. Why d’you want to know?”


“I’m just curious. I don’t remember reading about her in any of your books.”


“That’s because I didn’t write about her in any of my books.”


“Why not?”


“Because I only wrote about my outlaw life and about trying for amnesty. Anne doesn’t figure in either.”


“But you said earlier that Anne and her husband, Lionel … .”


“Linnaeus.”


“Linnaeus were part of your network of informants.”


“Yes and they were.”


“So … .”


“I mentioned the network but didn’t go into details,” he said, quickly. “Best for them.”


“But you change names.”


He sighed, wanting this conversation to end. “Still no reason to go into too much detail.”


The snuggling pair were silent. Heyes waiting, in the vain hope this conversation was over. He would be disappointed, Mary was thinking of her next question.


“Were you lovers?”


There it was.


“Yes,” Heyes admitted, quietly. He took a deep breath. “Briefly.”


Mary had already suspected that Anne and Heyes had history. She wasn’t sure how she felt now that he had confirmed it. Of course, she knew there had been women he had been intimate with before their marriage but she had never met any of them. As far as she knew.
Mary raised her head to look at him.


“What happened?” she asked, quietly, feeling hurt. There was no reason why she should be but she felt suddenly threatened by this woman. Joshua was married to her and he had never given her any reason not to trust him. Plenty of women had flirted with him over the years but he never gave them any encouragement. Perhaps it was because Anne had known him before she had. When he had a different life.


“She met Linnaeus.”


“Were you upset?”


“No.”


“Why not?”


Heyes scowled. “Mary you’re beginning to sound like Susan!”


Mary put her head back on his shoulder. “She IS my daughter. Where do you think she gets it from?”


Heyes smiled in agreement and pressed a kiss on the top of Mary’s head. He sighed. “I wasn’t upset because Linnaeus could give Anne something I didn’t want at the time.”


“What?”


“A future together, a home, a family. I was an outlaw. I couldn’t give her any of those things.
Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.”


“Did you love her?”


“No.”


“Why not?”


Heyes sighed. “I met Anne when I helped Soapy out with a con he was running.”


“Yes you said.” She didn’t tell him Anne had said the same thing.


Heyes licked his lips. “Anne was the mark.”


Mary raised her head again.


“Anne was the mark!” She hadn’t expected that.


“Yes.”


“Why was she the mark?”


“I don’t remember now. It’s a long time ago,” he said, irritably.


Mary knew he did remember but didn’t want to tell her. Even worse, Heyes knew she knew. They were at an impasse. It was Heyes, who looked away first. He sighed. “I was helping
Soapy out and doing what he told me. It kinda went wrong.”


“What happened?”


Heyes gave another deep sigh. Mary could be like a dog with a bone sometimes. “Anne figured it out and turned the tables on us.” He rolled his eyes. “That’s when Soapy offered her a job in his operation.”


“So you only went with Anne because it was part of your … JOB?” Mary was wide-eyed. “Did you OFTEN have to be a lothario?”


“No,” he denied quickly, and then sighed. “Sometimes.” Another sigh and a wince. “No,” he said, more firmly. “That makes it sound sordid and this wasn’t.” He shook his head in irritation.


“So you were attracted to her?”


Heyes licked his lips. “Yes,” he forced out, not happy with this conversation. “I think it was mutual,” he added, hoping that would make it sound more acceptable. He looked away and then looked back suddenly. “Why all the questions about Anne? Why’s it so important?” Then a thought struck him. “Are you … jealous?” He widened his eyes at her.


“No,” Mary denied, firmly.


Heyes grinned. “You are! You’re jealous!” Then he sobered. “Mary you’ve no need to be. I’m married to you. I love being married to you.” He rubbed his cheek across the top of head. “I’m with you for ever and very happy. I haven’t looked at another woman in that way for years. You know that. Anne was a few weeks a very long time ago when I was a different man.”


Mary nodded and sighed. “I know. I’m just being silly. I suppose it’s because I’ve never met anyone but Soapy and Wheat from your past life. And that funny little man that came with Wheat in the middle of the night that time.”


“Yeah, Kyle.”


Silence. Was the interrogation over?


“Oh and that Clementine Hail woman.” Mary’s head came up quickly and suddenly, nearly knocking into his chin. “She wasn’t …?”


“No.” Heyes was firm. “I explained about Clementine at the time.”


“Yes you did.” Mary put her head back. “I suppose I’m feeling a little unloved … . As you’ve been … out of action … for a while.”


“Out of action? What do you mean … ah!”


She was rubbing his stomach the way she knew he liked. She sighed contentedly.


Heyes closed his eyes and rested his cheek on the top of her head. He sighed as well.

Suddenly his eyes flew open.


“Mary!” he exclaimed, when her hand had slid lower. Then he gave a deep, husky chuckle.

ASJASJASJASJ

Sometime later, the main bedroom of Amnesty was bathed in a post-lovemaking glow. Their intimacy had been awkward but ultimately successfully. Afterwards, snuggling, they had fallen asleep when an urgent banging on the front door, rudely awaken them.


“Sheesh! Who’s that?” Heyes started, putting his hand to his forehead. He had been in a deep asleep.


“It sounds important,” said Mary, sitting up and reaching for her robe on the bottom of the bed. Clutching the neckline together, she went over and pulled the sash window up.


“Who’s there?” she demanded.


In the moonlight, a man appeared from underneath the portico. He touched his hat.


“Sorry to wake ya ma’am.”


It was Wheat. Who else would it be at that time of night?


“Is Heyes awake?”


“He is now!” Heyes yelled.


“Shhh! You’ll wake the children,” Mary hissed back at her husband.


Her warning was unnecessary because at that moment they heard, “Who’s making all that noise?” Susan demanded, from the landing.


Heyes tossed his hand in the air and rolled his eyes.


“Just stay there Wheat. I’ll come down and open the door,” Mary said to their nocturnal visitor.


“Yes ma’am. Thank you ma’am.”


Mary closed the window and turned back. Before she could get to the door, she caught the look on Heyes’ face. “What?” she asked, hands on hips, which made her robe gape at the neck.


Heyes pursed his lips. “Might wanna think about putting your nightdress back on,” he said,
quietly.


“Perhaps you’re right,” Mary conceded, when she realised why he was saying that and threw off her robe to stand naked.


Heyes smiled appreciatively.


“I expect Wheat has news,” she said, trying to distract him as she retrieved her nightdress from where Heyes had thrown it earlier.


“Mmmm,” his smile became wider.


“Is someone going to answer the door?” Susan called. “Some of us are trying to sleep.”


“Yes! I’m coming!” Mary said, disappearing into her nightdress.


A few moments, now respectably clad, she threw open the door to confront her daughter.


“Back to bed, young lady. You’ve school in the morning.”


“How can I sleep with all this commotion?” the small girl asked.


“Well just try.” Mary turned Susan round and set her off in the direction of her bedroom.


“Who’s at the door?” asked a sleepy Harry, coming out of his room.


Mary groaned. “Back to bed. It’s just Wheat. I’m going to let him in and then we’re ALL going to bed.”


“Wheat! Haven’t seen Wheat in days. Where’s he been?” Harry asked, excitedly. “Can I stay up and say hi?”


“No!”


“Wheat’s back?” Billy asked, coming out of his room.


“Yes now … .” Mary groaned as Wheat banged on the door again. “Just a moment! I’m coming!” She stomped downstairs leaving the three children peering through the balustrade.


“It’s Wheat!” Billy jumped up and down as his mother let that man in.


“Yea! It is Wheat!” Harry joined in.


The big man climbed the stairs to the landing, feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed by the excited reaction of the children.


“Hey! You’s three outta be in bed.”


“Very observant,” Mary muttered, beside him.


In the bedroom, Heyes was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking for his discarded nightshirt.


“Wheat! You’re back!” Billy shrieked and wrapped his arms round Wheat’s leg.


Heyes smiled at the small boy’s excitement. Billy was usually such a serious boy.


“Yeah, Wheat where’ve you been? We’ve missed you,” Harry said.


“What time do you call this? Don’t you know that SOME of us have school in the morning!” huffed a small girl with folded arms.


Heyes chuckled as he got his arms in the nightshirt then grimaced. He hated the wretched thing and was longing for the day when he didn’t have to wear it in bed anymore. It rose up and twisted around his hips. Several times, he had woken Mary so she could help untangle him. Only to be met with thinly disguised laughter. On the other hand, his disgruntled face had received a kiss so perhaps it wasn’t all bad. No! No! He shook his head in disgust at thinking such things. It was gonna be burnt at the earliest opportunity.


“That’s enough now. Leave Wheat alone.” Mary pulled Billy away and held his hand firmly. “Back to bed now please.”


“Wheat, you’re wearing your gun! Can I see?” Harry asked, eagerly.


“NO!” Mary pulled him back and gave Wheat a glare of disapproval. He wrinkled his nose in
apology. “Come on. Bed. I’ll tuck you in.” Mary led the boys away, leaving Wheat to confront a glowering Susan.


“So?”


“Well now Little Missy I’s come to see ya Pappy. Been doing somethin’ for him an’ I reckon he’ll wanna know right away how it went.”


“Mama put Pappy to bed early ‘cos he’s been up all day and he’s very tired. I don’t think he’s awake.”


“Oh yes I am!” said a disembodied voice from the bedroom. “Wheat get in here!” Then pre-empting the little girl’s question. “Susan, go to bed. It’s late. You can see Wheat tomorrow.”


“Why are you picking on ME? The boys are up as well!” Susan protested.


“I MEAN all of you. Now get to bed!”


“Yes, Pappy,” Susan said, reluctantly, turning away.


Wheat walked into the bedroom as Heyes struggled back into bed.


“I’s sorry I woke everyone. Figgured ya wanna know what went down up at Longwater,” Wheat said, in apology.


“Yeah I do.”


“Can I have some hot milk, Mama?” they heard Billy ask.


“No.”


“How about cocoa?” Harry suggested.


“No-O!”


“Did someone say cocoa? I’ll have some,” Susan said, putting in her order.


Heyes winced. “Shut the door,” he mouthed at Wheat who did. Heyes felt a moment of guilt for leaving Mary to cope with the children alone but Wheat had news he needed to hear. He shook his head and rubbed his forehead as Wheat took a seat. “Hope you’ve got good news?”


“Yeah sorta.”


“What sort of answer’s that?”


“Well it’s like this.” Wheat proceeded to tell Heyes all that happened at Longwater. He listened impassively until Wheat told him about the gunfight. Then Heyes sat up wide-eyed.


“Is the Kid alright?” he asked in concern.


“Yeah, yeah, took a bullet through the shoulder … .”


“WHAT?”


“It’s a through and through Heyes. He’ll be alright. That va-lay of his is lookin’ after him.”


“And you couldna LED with this?”


Wheat shrugged. “Reckon he got hurt worse a time or two afore. Don’t reckon this is much more’n a scratch in comparison.”


“So … .” Heyes rolled his eyes. “Oh Sheesh! So what happened? Is Bloodstone under arrest?”


“Yeah, yeah. Tucked up safe ’n’ sound in Longwater’s jail by now I reckon.” Wheat chortled.


Heyes grunted.


“That va-lay,” Wheat chortled again. “Reckon he saved the day right enough. The Kid sure
has got one fast thinkin’ partner these days. Er … .” He saw the look Heyes gave him. “I mean agin. Yeah that’s what I mean, agin.”


“Wheat,” Heyes growled. “What happened?”


Wheat settled himself more comfortably in the chair and continued with the story. When he got to the bit about curare, Heyes chuckled.


“That mean somethin’ to ya?”


“Yes. Paul helped me with part of the research I’m doing for my next book. Poison came up.” Heyes pulled a lop-sided face. “Guess it helped in more ways than one.”


Wheat nodded. “Yeah Heyes I reckon it did. Bamboozled Bloodstone and Didcot enough for Gunnison and me’s to get the drop on ‘em.”


Heyes nodded. “Well done, Wheat. Sounds like it was a good night’s work.” Heyes stifled a yawn as the door opened.


Mary came in, shut it behind her and leant against it heavily.


“They gone down again?” Heyes asked.


“Yes. Finally.”


She pushed away from the door, giving Wheat a hard look. Wheat took the hint and got up.


“Well I’s done finished telling Heyes what happened up at Longwater tonight. Best be getting back down to the stables. Already woke John up.”


Not to mention waking US up, thought Mary. Wheat sidled to the door, aware of Mary’s displeased look.


“Quietly, please.”


“Yes ma’am. Sees ya.”


Wheat fled.


Mary turned back to her husband with a raised eyebrow.


“The Kid took a bullet through the shoulder but it sounds like he’ll be alright. Bloodstone’s under arrest.” He smiled, deviously. “Say Mary?” He got her attention. “Will you go down and lock the door behind Wheat please?” Then when he saw the look, she gave him. She had just taken her robe off. “Well I can’t, can I?”


ASJASJASJASJ

“What’s that?” Heyes asked Billy, pointing at picture in a book.


Heyes and the boys were reading a book in the lounge, Billy tucked cosily beside him, helping him read. Harry was busy drawing in pencil on his father’s plaster-coated foot, which rested on the pouffe. Heyes had given up telling Harry not to draw on either of his plastered limbs but he wasn’t always fast enough to move away. Harry had a captive easel and Heyes’ plaster casts now sported all manner of animals, trains and unidentifiable shapes and designs.


The little boy studied the picture in the book for a moment. “A lion,” Billy declared, with a grin.


“Yep. And where do lions live?”


Billy looked uncertain. Heyes looked to his brother. “Harry do you know?”


The elder boy looked round and shrugged. “Don’t care. Unless they live HERE,” he said, and went back to his latest masterpiece.


Heyes smacked his lips and looked at Billy. “Any ideas?”


“Not here?” Billy said, uncertain.


Heyes smiled. “No. Well … .” The type of lion depicted in the book didn’t but there was the cougar. That was a type of lion. Should he say that to Billy?


He was saved from his dilemma by sounds of a buggy drawing up outside.


“Ah!” He was expecting the Kid and Cowdry back. They should have been back two days ago.

The Kid had sent a very brief telegram saying there was a delay. No explanation. The two messages Heyes had sent to Lom had yielded no further information. Heyes hoped this was the Kid back, as the suspense was killing him.


“I’ll see who it is,” yelled Harry, dashing into the hall.


“Me too!” piped Billy, worming off the sofa and running after him.


Heyes smiled and closed the book, setting it to one side, to await the visitors. He didn’t have long to wait.


“Uncle Thaddeus!” Harry.


“Woa! Woa! Easy boys,” the Kid said. He sounded weak and weary.


“You’ve got a sling like Pappy!” Billy.


“Alright Kid?” Wheat.


“Yeah. Heyes up?”


“Yeah, yeah, he’s in the lounge.”


“I’ll bring the bags in sir.” Cowdry.


“Thank you Paul.”


Heyes inclined his neck as he heard footsteps approach the open front door, and then feet entering the hall. The Kid appeared in the doorway of the lounge. Heyes had prepared a broad grin of greeting but it slowly faded when he saw the Kid.


Right arm in a sling he had expected but he wasn’t prepared for how pale and hollow-eyed the Kid was.


“Thaddeus!” Mary greeted, coming out of the kitchen, drying her hands. She kissed him on the cheek and looked at him in concern. “How are you? Can I get you anything?”



“I … need to speak to Heyes,” the Kid said, quietly, ignoring her questions.


“Of course. He’s in the lounge. I’ll make sure you’re not disturbed. Come along boys.”


“Awh, Mama!”


“Now!” Her sharp tone brooked no arguments and the two boys trooped off after her.


Heyes watched as the Kid walked across the lounge and sat down heavily in a chair. He rubbed his forehead and closed his eyes. Heyes knew better than to ask. The Kid obviously had something difficult to tell him but he’d do it in his own time. Heyes had to be patient.


Finally, the Kid dropped his hand and sighed.


“Dandy’s dead,” he said, softly.


Heyes shifted uncomfortably. Now he knew what the Kid was dealing with.


“Wheat said you didn’t have a choice but to go up against him.” Heyes said, slowly.


“Yeah I did,” the Kid cut him off. He bounced his fingers on the arm of chair. “Yeah, Heyes I
had a lot of choices,” he said, bitterly. “An’ I picked the wrong one.”


Heyes licked his lips. He didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t there. He hadn’t seen what had gone down. He only knew what Wheat had told him. Wheat wasn’t known for his accurate and in-depth descriptions of events.


“D’you want to tell me?”


The Kid shook his head, at odds with what he said next. “Yeah, I do. I need to tell someone. It’s been rolling round in my head since it happened.” He swallowed hard and looked at the ceiling. “I hit him in the belly, Heyes.” He shook his head. “I didn’t get a … I wasn’t able to … . Sheesh!” The Kid rubbed his forehead, face contorted in pain.


Heyes felt helpless and embarrassed that he was witnessing the Kid’s distress. Nothing he could do about it, except be there for him. Getting up was difficult but he managed, fumbled for his crutch and clopped his way over. Left hand on left shoulder and shook gently.


“He was a gunman, Kid. He knew the risks.”


“I didn’t havta do it, Heyes,” the Kid gasped. “I coulda tried … .” He shook his head. “I didn’t havta … .” He swallowed hard. “He shouldna died.”


“He was a killer, Kid. If he were caught, he would hang. He knew it and you knew it.”


“Yeah but then he wouldn’t have died by my hand. Heyes!” The Kid swallowed hard. “He didn’t die straight away. The Doc got him stable enough to move to his house. The next morning I got a message asking me to come. When I got there the Doc said, Dandy had been asking for me. He was dying Heyes and he knew it. Wanted to see me before he went.” He paused.  D’ya know who he was?” The Kid looked wide-eyed at Heyes.


“Edward Dandy?”


“No!” The Kid shook his head, furiously. “No, Heyes. That wasn’t his name.” His voice shuddered. “He told me his name before he died.” He looked up at Heyes, eyes moist. “It was … .” His voice caught. “It was Thomas Cunningham.”


Heyes frowned. For a moment, he was unsure what the Kid was getting at.


“TOMMY Cunningham,” the Kid confirmed.


“No!”


Heyes dropping his crutch with a clatter, staggered back, landing heavily on the pouffe.


“But … he was a child!” Heyes shook his head. “He couldn’t be old enough yet.”


The Kid shook his head. “He was a killer, Heyes. It ages ya. An’ he lived a hard life. He grew up quick.”


“No, Kid. You must be mistaken. It’s a common enough name … .”


The Kid shook his head. “No, Heyes. There’s no mistake. His mother took them back East but he couldn’t settle. He ran away. Came back West.” He swallowed hard. “He told me ‘bout seeing me practising my fast draw that time. Remember? You were going through the books?”


Heyes nodded. This was all ringing true and he didn’t trust himself to speak.


“Stuck with him. Despite what I told him ‘bout the dangers of using guns.” The Kid sighed and looked away.


Heyes put his head down as he absorbed what he’d heard.


“I sat with him all day yesterday until ... . He drifted in and out. In his more lucid moments, he talked. ‘Bout how he’d practiced and practiced. He wanted to be the best. ‘Bout his ma and sister. How he’da liked to see them again.” The Kid licked his lips. “I held his hand when he died, Heyes.”


“You made your peace with him, Kid,” Heyes said, quietly.


Heyes put his head down. He didn't want to see the Kid so upset.


It was a few minutes before the Kid could compose himself enough to speak.


“How many others, Heyes?” Heyes looked up. “How many kids saw me gun down Bilston? How many kids saw me shot Briggs? How many kids saw me just draw? How many kids thought, I wanna do that, be like that … ?” He tailed off, swallowed and shook his head.


“Kid, … .”


“I wanna go home Heyes. Back East. Away from here. Where there’s nothing to remind me.” He paused. “I wanna see my boys. Tell ‘em … . Jus’ hold ‘em … .”


Heyes nodded, not trusting himself to speak. He couldn’t imagine how the Kid felt. The knowledge that Dandy had been Tommy Cunningham, the son of a woman they had helped early in their quest for amnesty, had shaken him too.


“How often do you wear your gun these days?” the Kid asked, suddenly.


Heyes shook his head. “Not very often. Don’t need to.” He paused. “There’s rarely a reason for me to wear it anymore.” He paused. “And I’ve never worn it in front of the kids. I keep it locked away. Where they can’t accidently find it.”


“Yeah,” the Kid nodded. “That’s what I want.” He took a deep breath. “So I’ve decided,
Heyes,” he said, quietly. “I ain’t gonna wear my gun again. Ever.” He looked away, biting his lip. “That was the last time.” He took a deep breath. “The last time I will pull a gun on another human being. The last time I … hurt another human being. The last time I … kill … another human being.” He rubbed his forehead to hide his tear-glazed eyes.


Heyes pursed his lips. He had to say something. Now wasn’t the time for a smart alec comment. But what?


“I think … that’s a good decision, Kid.”


“Glad you approve,” the Kid said, icily, and then false smiled at him. He scrubbed at his eyes and then dropped his hand on to his thigh. “Awh, maudlin’ won’t help will it? It’s done. It’s over. Can’t change it now. In the past.” He frowned and put his hand to his shoulder. “I’ll always have a reminder.” He sighed. “Guess I’ll jus’ have to live with it.”


“We’ve both done things in our lives that we’ve regretted,” Heyes said.


“Yeah and for me this is jus’ one more of ‘em.”


“You look tired, Kid. Why don’t you go up and get some sleep?”


The Kid’s hand still covered his injured shoulder. “The doc up at Longwater offered me laudanum but I refused. I wanted to feel the pain.”


Heyes pursed his lips. “You can’t go on forever like that Kid. You need to get some sleep, otherwise it won’t heal.” The Kid nodded. “I’ve still got some laudanum if you want it.”


The Kid raised his head and looked at Heyes. “Yeah, you’re right.” He frowned. “Of course, you’re right,” he said, more firmly. “I’ve gotta get over this. I owe it to Caroline and the boys don’t I?”


Heyes nodded. “They want you back, Kid.”


The Kid smiled faintly and nodded. Wearily he got up and put his hand on Heyes’ shoulder.

“Thanks Heyes. Thanks for listenin’.”

_________________
Kid Curry and that other fella; Hannibal Heyes and whatsname
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Settling Wheat – Part Twenty (Past Times Haunt the Present)
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